Speaking at the traditional debriefing yesterday morning, Michael Brown, Chairman of the Championship Committee, was very positive about the outcome of The 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews.
“We have a new a very worthy champion in Louis Oosthuizen, who played tremendous golf under pressure and, in the end, won with some comfort,” said Brown. “I’m also well pleased with the attendance of 201,000 (compared to 230,000 in 2000 and 223,000 in 2005]. In the circumstances of the economy and the absolutely foul weather we had at the beginning of the week, we’d regard that as a very satisfactory attendance.”
The Championship is expected to have delivered an £80 million benefit for the Scottish economy the First Minister, Alex Salmond, had announced on the first day of play, reporting on the findings of a forecast measuring the economic benefits of the event. Experts at the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University are conducting the research which has been commissioned by the R&A and EventScotland.
It shows that The Open is expected to generate £35 million for Scotland in visitor spending and £45 million in place marketing effect through over 3,000 hours of global television coverage, a 35 percent increase on last year’s event.
At the same time, VisitScotland is confident of strong international golf tourism numbers this year. Leading US based golf tour operators have reported that 2010 sales for Scotland up to June have risen 49 percent against the same period last year.
During a trade mission to China earlier in July, the First Minister stepped up the drive to attract more Chinese golf tourism with the launch of the first dedicated Scottish golf brochure. Initial reports from Chinese tour operators show they are expecting to exceed their revenue targets from Scotland tours following the visit.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This is a great time for golf in Scotland. As one of the world’s greatest golfing nations and the home of the game, our fantastic courses and scenery continue to provide a draw for visitors across the globe.
“Hosting The Open at the prestigious Old Course on the 150th anniversary of the event could bring in £80 million for the Scottish economy. As the only major staged outside the US, this world class championship is the jewel in the crown of our sporting calendar and continues to ensure Scotland shines on the world stage.
“Following on from last week’s Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, as we gear up to towards staging five Women’s Open Championships over the next decade and hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014 we have a fantastic story to tell.
“We have a great tradition in golf and have produced world class golfers over the years. We are working hard to bring forward the next generation of talent and ensure that Scottish golfers regularly feature at the top of the leader board at future events.
“The Scottish Government invests £500,000 in clubgolf, our national junior golf programme, where we are introducing record numbers of young people to the game, with an estimated 41,000 children set to benefit this year. We are also investing £1 million to support Scotland’s most talented amateur players make the transition to the professional game.
“Golf is a vital part of the fabric of our nation, and we will continue to capitalise on the benefits of the game for years to come.”
Professor Simon Shibli, head of the Sport Industry Research Centre said: “As an academic institution it is our style to quote credible, ‘at least’, figures that can be supported by an audit trail of evidence. Our research confirms The Open as one of the economic jewels in the crown of the UK sporting calendar.
“With an economic impact of almost £9 million per day, it would be fair to say that every day of The Open is a major event in its own right. The Open is further evidence of how sports events can lead to significant spending in the host economy by visitors as well as acting as a global advertisement for a nation’s tourism offer.”
The economic impact figure of £35 million has been derived using industry recognised best practice following the eventIMPACTS.com methodology.
The £45 million figure is driven by a forecast 3,000 hours of coverage, that is a 35 percent increase on the 2009 Open.
Open Championship www.opengolf.com
Sport Industry Research Centre www.shu.ac.uk/research/sirc/